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    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    CO2 Cartridge Refill?

    I believe empty CO2 cartridges can be recycled as steel, but can they be refilled?

    I have not yet converted to CO2 but the convenience factor makes them mighty attractive. It just seems like a waste to recycle the empties, considering the all the energy used to crush, melt and reform the steel. Sure recycling is better than burying in a landfill, but if the empties can be refilled, that'd be better.

  2. #2
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    I do not think the design lends itself to easily refilling them and I am certain it could not be done at home.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo SOLd, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis SOLD, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti SOLD, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

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    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudPie View Post
    can they be refilled?
    Inflators puncture the seal at the top of the canister, refilling them would mean re-establishing that seal. Not impossible, but not something you could do yourself and not something that any CO2 suppliers are doing to my knowledge. While the empty cart is a visible indicator of the waste, there's almost surely something you could do elsewhere in your lifestyle that would have a bigger effect than not recycling a few carts per year.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

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    CO2 cartridges are single use items, recycle them yes, but re-sealing / re-using no

  5. #5
    \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ SumoMuffin's Avatar
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    Possible: yes, convenient and safe: no. It would involve putting dry ice into the canister (not easy through that little hole), then sealing it off with molten metal. You would also have to get the amount of dry ice just right into each one or else you could have exploding cartridges. Another danger would be having the hot metal used for sealing it fall onto the dry ice, causing it to rapidly sublimate and explode. Just recycle them. I keep my co2 charger in my flat kt and only use it for flats on the road, I only use a few cartridges per year if that. Using it only for emergency situations and a pump for regular pressurizing should keep your consumption footprint low.

  6. #6
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Well, you could go with something like this, but it's going to weigh a bit more than a disposable cartridge.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Tire pumps recharge every time you pull the plunger handle back..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-13-14 at 04:15 PM.

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    The transport of the used cylinders would exceed the cost of
    the cylinders. The process of doing it would be simple but with
    two way transportation it would cost more.

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    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Thanks all. I was *hoping* that there was a commercial source that would refill them but you all confirmed my suspicions. As a few pointed out, a cyclist's consumption isn't all that great. I'd probably use three or four a year.

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    Senior Member skydog6653's Avatar
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    Question: What was the last thing the CO2 refiller said?









    Answer: Hey, ya' all; watch this!

  11. #11
    Retro Grouch onespeedbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudPie View Post
    Thanks all. I was *hoping* that there was a commercial source that would refill them but you all confirmed my suspicions. As a few pointed out, a cyclist's consumption isn't all that great. I'd probably use three or four a year.
    this is worth a watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpIW2oX7rI0

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    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onespeedbiker View Post
    Wow, pretty amazing from an engineering and manufacturing standpoint. I like how a single disk of metal is progressively formed into a cylinder with neck.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydog6653 View Post
    Question: What was the last thing the CO2 refiller said?

    Answer: Hey, ya' all; watch this!
    Not quite. The real quote was:

    "Hey, hold my beer and watch this!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by BHOFM View Post
    The transport of the used cylinders would exceed the cost of
    the cylinders. The process of doing it would be simple but with
    two way transportation it would cost more.

    +1

    This is the key
    . It would be simple for the factory to melt off the solder and put cartridges back into the production line, but the logistics involved would probably have an environmental cost higher than simply recycling the steel.

    It's somewhat analogous to soda bottles and cans. They used to be washed and refilled, but it turns out to work out better if they're simply crushed and recycled raw material.
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    AFAIK the smallest refillable CO2 container is a 9 ounce paintball tank but the regulators cost about as much as a small compresser.

  16. #16
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    You can buy a refillable 16g cartridge for $20 from this guy: http://www.fizzgiz.com/Refillable16gOrderForm.htm

    Or follow a link on his page on how to make your own refillable cartridge.

    Whether or not it will work with your inflator is another matter entirely.
    Are you a registered member? Why not? Click here to register. It's free and only takes 27 seconds! Help out the forums, abide by our community guidelines.
    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    The manufacturing process is pretty amazing. They make big tanks, like scuba cylinders, the same way:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36MGPDjJWRE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAgSU6BCpsY

  18. #18
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudPie View Post
    I believe empty CO2 cartridges can be recycled as steel, but can they be refilled?

    I have not yet converted to CO2 but the convenience factor makes them mighty attractive. It just seems like a waste to recycle the empties, considering the all the energy used to crush, melt and reform the steel. Sure recycling is better than burying in a landfill, but if the empties can be refilled, that'd be better.
    Gosh, if only there were a device to use the outside air to pump up tires so we didn't need to keep using these wasteful cartridges.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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  19. #19
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    Just a thought. What if you drilled the round end and installed a tire valve. Then you reseal the puncture hole with solder. Then you pump it up with a pump or compressor.
    But like I said - it's just a thought.
    more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.

  20. #20
    Senior Member irishbill76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    Gosh, if only there were a device to use the outside air to pump up tires so we didn't need to keep using these wasteful cartridges.
    Its all about weight saving my friend. Cartridges weigh less than some stupidly heavy alloy mini-pump that you buy once and never have to pay out for again. Personally, I'm off to the bike shop tomorrow for some titanium plated carbon-fibre brake straddle cables for my 40 pound tourer. The saving of 0.5 grams will make that impossible hill sooooooooo much easier
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    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    You can buy a refillable 16g cartridge for $20 from this guy: http://www.fizzgiz.com/Refillable16gOrderForm.htm
    Or a dozen of disposable threaded 16g for $20 from this guy http://amzn.com/B002H9US7C

    ;-)
    Happier than a camel on wednesday.

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    I have mixed feelings about CO2 inflators. I know and understand why folks use them - weight, convenience, etc. And I understand the waste involved in anything disposable, even if it's recycled. But let's face if, if someone gets 2 flats a year, that's lots of pump carrying to just use it once every six months. Also 2 recycled cartridges a year isn't exactly a massive environmental impact.

    My objection to cartridge inflators (for my own use, I don't object to what others decide) is another reason entirely. They're a one shot deal. If the tire needs to be deflated for reseating, or needs reinflation for any reason you're SOL. I know some people who carry CO2 and a back up pump, but IMO that sort of nullifies the reason for carrying CO2 units in the first place.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 01-25-12 at 08:52 PM.
    FB
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  23. #23
    Dave TRUMPHENT's Avatar
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    Others have said it, no, they can't be refilled. I have 15 12gram cartridges, now over two years old. Haven't used one yet. Finding a good tire was the real problem solver. I commute first and then ride for fun. I bought my inflator and cartridges in case I flatted on the way to work. Since I changed tires to Panasonic Ribo, I haven't needed to use CO2 since. I've had one flat, that was close to home on the way home. I used my mini-pump to air up enough for that. I still carry them and won't hesitate using one or two cartridges if it means I get to work on time.

  24. #24
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    I have mixed feelings about CO2 inflators. I know and understand why folks use them - weight, convenience, etc. And I understand the waste involved in anything disposable, even if it's recycled. But let's face if, if someone gets 2 flats a year, that's lots of pump carrying to just use it once every six months. Also 2 recycled cartridges a year isn't exactly a massive environmental impact.

    My objection to cartridge inflators (for my own use, I don't object to what others decide) is another reason entirely. They're a one shot deal. If the tire needs to be deflated for reseating, or needs reinflation for any reason you're SOL. I know some people who carry CO2 and a back up pump, but IMO that sort of nullifies the reason for carrying CO2 units in the first place.
    That's largely how I feel about it. The point was driven home when I went on a ride with a guy, he got a flat, and his CO2 cartridge wasn't enough to fill the high-volume tire he was using. I had neglected to bring a pump myself, so we had to call the ride short.

    I regard the extra weight from the pump (which isn't that much of a burden with mini-pumps) like the extra weight from my helmet -- unnecessary 99.9% of the time, but nice when you need it.

    - Scott
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
    Just a thought. What if you drilled the round end and installed a tire valve. Then you reseal the puncture hole with solder. Then you pump it up with a pump or compressor.
    But like I said - it's just a thought.
    Compare the volume difference between the cartridge and tires and you'll quickly see the issue. If the cartridge were of equal volume it would have to start with pressure double what you wanted to end with inside the tire (the gas stops flowing once the pressure is equalized). Since tires probably have 20 times the volume of a cartridge you'd need to pump air to 2,000psi to have a functional cartridge.

    Actually the CO2 in cartridges is liquified, so it's ability to expand and inflate is greater than if it were just compressed air.
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    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

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